Hubbub today announced plans to double the size of the world’s first Community Fridge Network to 100 fridges. Building on the success of the first 50 Community Fridges the ambition is to help a further 50 open by the end of 2020.

Community Fridges, also known as ‘solidarity’ or ‘honesty’ fridges, were first tested in Germany and Spain. They provide a place for local residents and businesses to donate surplus perishable food such as fruit, vegetables and bread which is then available for anyone in the community to take.  

 

With support from Sainsbury's and Bosch, Hubbub first tested the idea in Derbyshire and London. Encouraged by the success of these early experiments the Community Fridge Network was launched in July 2017.

The network helps Community Fridges to become established by providing free advice, resources, such as fridges and support to local organisers around challenges such as legal requirements and food hygiene. The network creates opportunities for communities to share experiences and learn from each other. It also makes it easier for national retailers to donate surplus food with confidence that safety and hygiene issues are addressed.

Hubbub is delighted by the speed at which the idea has taken off. We have received 900 expressions of interest which has led to the creation of the first 50 fridges. On average these fridges are redistributing half of a tonne of food a month although the busiest fridges are re-distributing four tonnes of healthy food. Each fridge has an average of 220 people using it monthly (increasing up to 1,000 people for some locations). 95% of the food in the fridges is donated by retailers with the remaining 5% from households. We estimate that the fridges are saving the equivalent of 50,000 meals every month.

The growth of the network provides another opportunity to cut food waste which remains a huge issue in the UK, with £13 billion of edible food thrown away from our homes every year and a further £3 billion of food wasted by the hospitality and food service sector.

As well as reducing food waste, the Fridges encourage a spirit of sharing and can help strengthen community bonds and increase local activities.

In a survey of 21 Community Fridges, 50% said people are sharing skills, 45% stated their Community Fridge is linked to cooking and growing workshops and 30% said people are sharing other household items.

To celebrate the success of the Community Fridge Network, Hubbub has joined forces with 2013 Masterchef winner, Natalie Coleman who will be visiting the Food Academy Community Fridge in Newham on 6th March 2019 to make dishes with the ingredients she discovers there. The recipes will be uploaded to the Hubbub recipe blog and social channels after the visit. 

More information on the Community Fridge Network, including a map of the Community Fridge locations and advice for those interested in setting one up, visit here.

Meet the people behind the Community Fridges